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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Trans protesters file federal suit against Florida county
2022-02-01

This article shared 772 times since Tue Feb 1, 2022
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On Jan. 31, three transgender people—Gabriela Amaya Cruz, Christian Pallidine and Angel Jae Torres Bucci—filed suit in federal court against Miami-Dade County for abuse they contend they suffered while in county custody after being arrested at protests for Black lives in 2020, per a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) press release.

Attorneys from Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF), the Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic, and SPLC are representing the plaintiffs.

According to the plaintiffs, correctional staff undertook illegal strip searches; called them degrading and humiliating names such as "it," "hermaphrodite" and "woman . . . with a d—"; addressed and referenced them using the wrong gender pronouns; threatened their safety; manhandled and physically hurt them; forced them to remove personal accessories that aligned with their gender; isolated them in solitary cells; denied them medical treatment; and required them to wear clothing associated with the wrong gender in order to be freed from jail.

Amaya Cruz and Torres Bucci are transgender women who were arrested protesting violence against Black trans women; Pallidine is a transgender man who was arrested after protesting after Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. All criminal charges against them were later dropped.

"Transgender people deserve dignity and respect, especially in settings where they are at increased risk such as local jails," said SPLC Interim Deputy Legal Director Scott McCoy. "Unfortunately, Miami-Dade County failed our clients miserably."

Plaintiffs and their counsel have recommended changes to jail policies and practices including (among other things):

—Housing transgender people in custody where they say will be safest for them and ending discriminatory placements in solitary cells;

—Allowing transgender people in custody to dress according to their identity, and not discriminating based on dress; and

—Training staff to understand the limited range of instances where a strip search is allowed by law, and ending the illegal practice of strip-searching people because they are trans.

The lawsuit comes after nearly a year of attempts to resolve the plaintiffs' claims outside of litigation that were not successful.

Readers looking to show support for the plaintiffs can sign a petition at bit.ly/bucci-petition.


This article shared 772 times since Tue Feb 1, 2022
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